Indiana’s New “Civil Rights” Bill: Two Steps Back for the LGBT Community?

A proposed Indiana Bill purports to extend civil rights protections to the LGBT community. In practice, it may be a step back.

no breasts, it is ‘not a discriminatory practice’ to make him wear a dress and high heels, because at my for-profit business, that’s how I say things should be.”

Other aspects of the bill include exempting all religious or religious-affiliated organizations from the bill’s provisions—but only as to those provisions related to sexual orientation or gender identity. The definition of a “religious affiliated organization” is broad, and explicitly includes adoption agencies, nonprofit schools and nonprofit day care facilities.

Additionally, the bill explicitly exempts employers with fewer than four employees from the law, effectively allowing small business owners to discriminate with impunity.

The bill is also causing concern because it preempts cities and towns from enacting any anti-discrimination ordinances that are “more stringent” than the protections laid out in the bill. This would remove protections already in place for LGBT people in 17 cities and towns that have passed protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and would forbid any future protections. So, for example, even if a more liberal town wanted to prohibit small business owners from openly refusing service to a lesbian, it could not.

In the face of opposition to Senate Bill 100, another bill was introduced this month, Senate Bill 334, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity – removing protections for transgendered people until transgender protections could be “further studied.”

Republican Senator Travis Holdman, who introduced the bill, called it “sort of a compromise piece.” “Folks understand the gay issue, the lesbian issue, the 

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